A joint venture, the partnership aims to produce an animation feature every two-and-a-half years with an around €10 million ($12.1 million) budget.
First fruit of the joint venture, animated feature “Monstrous Mia” marks the sophomore directorial effort of Verena Fels (“Raven the Little Rascal – Hunt for the Lost Treasure”).
Arx Anima has had a long term Spanish connection with almost half of its workforce at its Vienna studio being of Spanish origin. Gustavo Liévano has been running its business development operation from Spain for many years. “We thought it would be a great idea to partner up and form Arxlight Pictures in order to create the best possible European co-production projects,” Arx Anima co-CEOs Kris Staber and Dunja Bernatzky told Variety.
“Monstrous Mia” frames the adventures of 12-year -old Mia Minster, a girl who deeply loves monsters, creepy crawlies, spooky things and greatly dislikes rainbows, teddy bears and anything frivolous: A strong yet peculiar, – albeit distinctly feminine – character who struggles for acceptance and a sense of belonging.
“Monstrous Mia” is based on “Monstrous Maud,” a series of books by Mancunian author A. B. Saddlewick – a pseudonym for Tim Collins – published in the U.K. and Germany. The feature’s scriptwriters are Katharine Reschke and Jasmina Kallay.
Nico Matji and Staber met years ago and learnt how similar and complementary their companies were. “At that time, Arx Anima was focused on the production of TV series made with amazing cost-effectiveness, while Lightbox was focused on producing our own IP feature films, at a very competitive cost-effective ratio too,” Matji told Variety. He added: It seemed only natural to share projects, as well as technical and financial resources in order to make our companies stronger in a competitive global environment.”
At Arxlight, Lightbox and Arx Anima will share infrastructure, R+D, proprietary stories, and the financing opportunities from respective countries and regions. “Arx Anima is very strong in its technological pipeline and workflows, which are constantly improving, while Lightbox has a fabulous track record of hit movies with great technical and creative teams behind them,” Matji explained.
Staber commented that Arxlight has multiple TV series and feature films planned. Multiple projects are in advanced development stages, and quite a few are being financed or closing financing. The company is also open to service work, provided the titles fit its profile.
“Nowadays, thanks to the streamers, movies have become more of a global industry than ever before. Boundaries and nationalities have disappeared, and everything is a matter of talent in storytelling and production, to deliver content at a fair price,” Matji concluded.
“Monstrous Mia” is scheduled to enter into production in first quarter 2022, tracking for a Fall 2024 release.